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9 Easy Yoga Poses to Relief* from Back Pain

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

Low back pain is the most common cause of disability worldwide. Evidence shows that 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time. Moreover, about one-half of all working Americans experience symptoms of back pain every year. The intensity of back pain varies from one person to another, but regardless of severity it affects a person’s quality of life, limits his/her mobility and disrupts the work performance. Do you experience back pain? If so, yoga is an ideal solution to relieve the pain and increase* the range of motion. Scroll down to learn more about yoga for back pain relief*.

Does yoga relieve back pain?

The first question that comes to your mind is whether yoga is really that effective for back pain or it’s just some sort of a trend that will be forgotten as soon as the next one appears. You will be happy to know that benefits of yoga for back pain are well-documented. A study whose findings were published in the Pain Research and Management revealed that back pain relief* yoga is an efficacious adjunctive treatment for this common problem. The ancient practice works to alleviate* the intensity of pain and tackle functional disability.

The Annals of Internal Medicine published results of the study which discovered that 12 weeks of yoga decreased* pain and improved* function in participants with low back pain as much as physical therapy sessions during the same time frame. After 12 weeks, adults in the yoga group were 21% less* likely to use pain medications than their counterparts from the group which revolved around education about back pain. What’s more, the improvements gained with yoga lasted throughout the year.

These are just two out of many studies that confirmed the amazing potential of yoga for both men and women who struggle with back pain.

What are the best Yoga Poses to Get Relief* from Back Pain?

Although there are hundreds of yoga postures and their variations, back pain relief* thanks to this ancient practice depends on choosing the right poses. Let’s take a look at nine easy yoga for back pain postures, you can perform anytime, anywhere.

1. Downward facing dog

Downward facing dog is one of the most well-known yoga poses and it belongs to the group of postures that are easy to perform. This pose elongates the cervical spine and works to strengthen* your hamstrings, core, and lower back area. Here are the instructions:

  • Come onto the ground on your hands and knees
  • Set the knees directly below the hips and make sure hands are slightly forward of the shoulders
  • Exhale and lift the knees away from the ground
  • Lengthen the tailbone away from the back of the pelvis and press it slightly toward the pubis area
  • Push the top thighs back, straighten the knees, bring the heels toward the ground
  • Hold the pose for five breaths and return to the starting position

2. Cat/Cow

A major benefit of this yoga for back pain relief* pose is that it massages the spine while stretching your back and torso areas. This is a great way to make sure your back is limber or flexible and healthy. To perform cat/cow, you should:

  • Start on all fours
  • Inhale as you drop your stomach toward the mat
  • Lift the chin and chest and stare at the ceiling
  • Exhale as you’re drawing the stomach to your spine and round the back toward the ceiling while you’re looking at the ground now
  • Stay a few seconds in this position and then release
  • Do 5-20 reps

3. Upward facing dog

The upward facing dog is a marvelous chest opener that gives your abdominal muscles a much-needed stretch. The posture also stretches your back and, thereby, helps relieve the pain or prevent its onset. The instructions are below:

  • Lie on the floor with chest and face turned toward the ground
  • Stretch the legs, bend elbows, spread palms on the ground beside your waist
  • Inhale and start lifting torso up and the legs a few inches off the ground
  • Lift the pubis toward the navel
  • Look up while your knees are slightly above the ground
  • Hold the position for three breaths and release

Remember, you can also perform this posture in a combination with downward facing dog. From downward dog pose, do a plank, and perform upward facing dog.

4. Child’s pose

Back pain relief* from yoga can also include child’s pose, one of the easiest postures to perform. This is a great way to rest and relax while stretching hips and the entire back area to relieve the tension and alleviate* pain. You can do child’s pose with the help of these instructions:

  • Kneel on the ground
  • Touch the big toes together and sit on the heels
  • Separate the knees to hip-width apart
  • Exhale and lay the torso between the thighs with arms fully extended in front of you
  • Stay at least 30 seconds in this position before releasing

5. Bow pose

Although bow pose seems incredibly easy it is more intense than previous postures. What makes this pose amazing for back pain relief* is its tremendous potential to stretch and strengthen* shoulders and the upper back area in order to improve* posture and minimize hunching. Hunching is a common problem nowadays, it affects the posture and increases* pressure on the spine thus producing* pain. In order to use yoga for back pain and perform bow pose, you should:

  • Lie face-down on the stomach with arms at your sides and legs extended
  • Start raising your legs and reach for the heels
  • Once you grab the heels try lifting them up i.e. move them in direction of your head
  • Hold the position for three breaths and release

If it’s difficult for you to reach for the heels at first, then grab your ankles. As you’re getting used to performing the pose, you’ll be able to grab your heels easily later.

6. Low lunge with backbend

The main advantage of this pose is stretching and strengthening of the entire back, from top to bottom. It’s a great all-around exercise that targets entire back area rather than one specific region. So, here’s how to do it:

  • Start in a low lunge position
  • Gently lower the back knee toward the floor
  • Bring arms up alongside your ears
  • Lean back
  • Hold for three breaths and return to the starting position

7. Seated spinal twist

The seated spinal twist is a great exercise for improving* the mobility of the spine and it also helps you improve* your posture. Both these factors decrease* the amount of pressure on the spine and support* proper spinal column alignment to prevent the pain. In order to do this pose, you should:

  • Start in a seated position
  • Bring the left foot alongside the right knee
  • Extend the right arm up
  • Hook the right elbow outside the left knee
  • Look over the left shoulder
  • Hold the position for three breaths and release

8. Lower back clasp

When you’re doing yoga for back pain, make sure you also include lower back clasp into the routine. This useful pose stretches and strengthens the lower back area which is particularly important if you bear in mind lower back pain is the most common cause of disability. Here are the instructions for this exercise:

  • Lie on the ground face-down
  • Clasp your hands behind you
  • Lift the chest up off the floor
  • Hold the position for three breaths and release

9. Locust pose

This simple exercise is a great way to strengthen* back and butt and it is similar to the lower back clasp. In order to perform it you should:

  • Lie on the ground face-down with arms beside you
  • Make sure your palms are facing up and forehead flat on the ground
  • Start lifting your head slowly along with torso, legs, and arms
  • While lifting your torso, arms, and legs, make sure the thighs are slightly rotated in
  • Hold for 30 seconds and then return to the starting position

Conclusion

Benefits of yoga for back pain relief* are well-documented. This ancient practice strengthens your spine and hips, stabilizes muscles, improves* flexibility and range of motion, and it also helps you relax. All these factors are essential for pain relief* and prevention. If you’re struggling with back pain, then practice these yoga postures to feel better* in an entirely natural manner.